There was risk and reward to be had in hiringPenny Hardawayas theMemphis men’s basketballcoach.

The rewards have been plentiful thus far. A No. 1 recruiting class. A full FedExForum. A national championship contender. A return to relevancy, both locally and across the college basketball world.

The risk arrived Friday night, in the hours leading up tothe Tigers’ 92 – 46 win over Illinois-Chicago. The risk was how this all happened.

It’s a question that lingered beneath the surface throughout the past 12 months, onceJames Wisemancommitted to Memphis. It’s a question Memphis basketball fans were happy to overlook and, judging by the notable cheers he received every time Wiseman’s name was announced Friday, they still might be.

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